Sedona survey respondents lament the cost of living, loss of community

View of the summit of Steamboat Rock in Sedona Arizona in the Coconino National Forest || Deposit photo

By Lacey Latch || The Arizona Republic

The vast majority of Sedona residents report having an overall positive quality of life in the city, according to the city’s 2022 National Community Survey results, but they also indicated that there are still areas for improvements.

About 25% of nearly 3,000 randomly selected households participated in the most recent survey, providing some insight into the community’s sentiment about a variety of topics.

Many longtime residents have said that the city’s problems, like affordable housing and increased tourism, have eroded Sedona’s overall sense of community. This echoes similar sentiments that many voters expressed during the city’s mayoral election last fall.

Heather Cotten is just one of many residents who watched firsthand as Sedona changed over the last decade. She moved to Sedona in 2010 from Hawaii to be closer to family while she raised her kids.

She said the city has lost much of its distinct sense of community that appealed to her in the first place.

‘You have your tourists and you have the small, local community and we really band together, we help each other out,’ Cotten said of Sedona’s close-knit feel. ‘As of right now I could still go out to the grocery store and run into people that I know. If I’m stuck on the side of the road I’m sure someone would help me, but that’s getting less and less.’

While there are many factors involved, she said, the loss of community is due in large part to the cost of living.

‘Priced out of paradise, as we say in Hawaii,’ Cotten said. ‘People that are born and raised here can’t afford to have families.’

‘I understand why everybody wants to come here and visit, because it’s beautiful,’ she said. ‘But it can’t just be for the wealthy and for the tourists. You have to have all types of people to make a community.’

This sentiment was shared widely based on the survey results. The city’s cost of living received unfavorable ratings from the vast majority of residents, 86%, which is 7% higher than the previous survey and lower than the national benchmark. The results also indicate that many residents are not optimistic about the potential impact the economy may have on their family income over the next six months.

Jablow said city leaders are also working on developing an ‘all hazards’ report to address all aspects of potential hazards in addition to a city-wide evacuation study and plan


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